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Makes 2 ciabatta loaves

A pleasingly aromatic loaf of Italian origin which has a distinctive taste and texture that develops from its important, initial, ciabatta sponge. This recipe makes 2 ciabatta loaves which can be wrapped and frozen for another day.

Free from Egg, Soya, Dairy, Nuts
Vegetarian, Vegan


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Ciabatta Sponge

  1. Put the flour, yeast and sugar into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Add the water and stir into a slack dough.
  3. Invert a large bowl over the paste and leave in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

Ciabatta Dough

  1. Add the water to the ciabatta sponge and stir into a thick batter.
  2. Add the flour and yeast and stir to combine.
  3. While still craggy and lumpy, sprinkle on the salt and continue mixing.
  4. Using your hands, gather everything together into a sticky mass of dough.
  5. Knead the dough in the bowl, or on a work surface, for 100 presses. Avoid adding flour if possible.
  6. Sprinkle the oil over the dough, run a spatula around the outside of the dough and turn it over a couple of times so the dough mass is covered in oil.
  7. Invert a large bowl over the dough bowl and leave it in a warm place for the dough to double in size, which will take about 1-2 hours.

Ciabatta Stretching

  1. Rub a little oil onto your fingers, pick up the far side of the dough, pulling and stretching it up as far as it will go, then fold it forward onto itself.
  2. Turn the dough a quarter to the left or right.
  3. Repeat the action of lifting and stretching the dough then folding back onto itself another four times, turning the dough after each stretch.
  4. Tuck the edges of the dough under to make a ball of dough sitting in the bowl.
  5. Cover with an upturned mixing bowl and leave until roughly double in size, 1-2 hours.


  1. Rub some oil around the inside of large baking tray or insert a baking liner.
  2. Dust the worksurface liberally with flour.
  3. Gently tip the dough onto the flour dusted surface and sprinkle it with flour.
  4. Without pressing down on the dough, gently shape it into a rectangle.
  5. Cut the dough in half to make two long rectangles.
  6. Tuck the dough under itself all around the two rectangles.
  7. Gently lift the ciabatta rectangles onto the prepared tray, keeping them apart.
  8. Invert a large bowl over the ciabatta and leave to rest for 35 minutes.
  9. Pre-heat the oven.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


2 x mixing bowls and large baking tray


220˚C, Fan 200˚C, 425˚F, Gas 7

Cooking time

30-35 minutes
I make this bread quite often now lasts for two days. I also use it for garlic bread to go with curries etc but cook garlic bread in the oven too crispy under the grill. happy cooking.
By Mrs brenda hughes
07 Nov 2013
I absolutely love this recipe! I am a complete disaster when it comes to baking, but after successfully baking two seperate loaves of bread this past week, I got brave enough to attempt doubling the recipe and splitting it into several small loaves. My family will be very happy tonight at dinner; especially my hubby who will not have to stop on his way home to buy a baguette to go with dinner. :) Thanks a Million!
By Mrs Sharon Kelly
11 Mar 2013
Tried this yesterday and loved it! The smell of olive oil was heavenly and it tasted even better when I dipped the bread in more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I used the "stretch and fold inside a bowl" method so there was minimal kneading and no extra flour needed at all. Will definitely try this again, maybe adding some herbs... Thanks for this great recipe!
By Miss Shirley Ng
16 Dec 2012
I am able to tolerate spelt flour, so use it all the time to make bread, pastry & puddings. Tried this receipe, loved it. So amazingly did my very finickity husband! Have tried less water which works & means that you don't have use loads of extra flour for kneading
By Ms Alison Fessi
14 Sep 2012
I bake this bread on a regular basis as my family think it is delicious. I would definitely recommend this recipe.
By Mrs Yvonne Davies
23 Jan 2012

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